150+ Thomas Jefferson Quotes on life, liberty and more

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743– July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He had previously served as the second vice president of the United States between 1797 and 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level. Jefferson, while primarily a planter, lawyer and politician, mastered many disciplines, which ranged from surveying and mathematics to horticulture and mechanics. He was an architect in the classical tradition. Jefferson’s keen interest in religion and philosophy led to his presidency of the American Philosophical Society; he shunned organized religion but was influenced by both Christianity and deism. A philologist, Jefferson knew several languages. He was a prolific letter writer and corresponded with many prominent people. His only full-length book is Notes on the State of Virginia (1785), considered perhaps the most important American book published before 1800. Jefferson championed the ideals, values, and teachings of the Enlightenment. After retiring from public office, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. Along with Millard Fillmore who founded the University at Buffalo, he is one of only two U.S. presidents to found a university. Jefferson died on Independence Day, July 4, 1826. Presidential scholars and historians generally praise Jefferson’s public achievements, including his advocacy of religious freedom and tolerance in Virginia. Although some modern scholars have been critical of Jefferson and slavery, Jefferson continues to rank highly, among the top ten U.S. presidents. We bring you the compilation of the best Thomas Jefferson Quotes, hope you like it.

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150+ Thomas Jefferson Quotes on life, liberty and more

I believe that justice is instinct and innate, the moral sense is as much a part of our constitution as the threat of feeling, seeing and hearing.— Thomas Jefferson

The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right and were it left to me to decide whether we should have  a government without newspapers, or newspapers wthout government, I should not hesita— Thomas Jefferson

How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.— Thomas Jefferson

It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness.— Thomas Jefferson

No more good must be attempted than the people can bear.— Thomas Jefferson

Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government…— Thomas Jefferson

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.— Thomas Jefferson

Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.— Thomas Jefferson

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.— Thomas Jefferson

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.— Thomas Jefferson

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.— Thomas Jefferson

Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error.— Thomas Jefferson

I have the consolation of having added nothing to my private fortune during my public service, and of retiring with hands clean as they are empty.— Thomas Jefferson

Man is fed with fables through life, and leaves it in the belief he knows something of what has been passing, when in truth he has known nothing but what has passed under his own eye.— Thomas Jefferson

I read no newspaper now but Ritchie’s, and in that chiefly the advertisements, for they contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.— Thomas Jefferson

Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.— Thomas Jefferson

I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.— Thomas Jefferson

I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the governing of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.Thomas  Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

The Greeks by their laws, and the Romans by the spirit of their people, took care to put into the hands of their rulers no such engine of oppression as a standing army. Their system was to make every man a soldier, and oblige him to repair to the standard of his country whenever that was reared. This made them invincible and  the same remedy will make us so.— Thomas Jefferson

150+ Thomas Jefferson Quotes on life, liberty and more

The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.— Thomas Jefferson

I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.— Thomas Jefferson

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.— Thomas Jefferson

If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.— Thomas Jefferson

God forbid we should ever be twenty years without a rebellion.— Thomas Jefferson

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.— Thomas Jefferson

Is it the Fourth?— Thomas Jefferson

There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.— Thomas Jefferson

It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.— Thomas Jefferson

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.— Thomas Jefferson

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Difference of opinion is helpful in religion.— Thomas Jefferson

We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.— Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.— Thomas Jefferson

Our friendships are precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life;and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part is sunshine.— Thomas Jefferson

No nation was ever drunk when wine was cheap.— Thomas Jefferson

The bulk of mankind are schoolboys through life.— Thomas Jefferson

The superiority of chocolate (hot chocolate), both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain. . — Thomas Jefferson

Health is worth more than learning.— Thomas Jefferson

It is part of the American character to consider nothing as desperate  to surmount every difficulty by resolution and contrivance.— Thomas Jefferson

Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself.— Thomas Jefferson

150+ Thomas Jefferson Quotes on life, liberty and more

When angry, count ten before you speak if very angry, an hundred.— Thomas Jefferson

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook.— Thomas Jefferson

The happiest moments of my life have a been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.— Thomas Jefferson

Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.— Thomas Jefferson

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.— Thomas Jefferson

Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.— Thomas Jefferson

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.— Thomas Jefferson

We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.— Thomas Jefferson

When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property— Thomas Jefferson

I cannot live without books.— Thomas Jefferson

Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.— Thomas Jefferson

Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God because, if there be  one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.— Thomas Jefferson

Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you and act accordingly.— Thomas Jefferson

The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper.— Thomas Jefferson

Never enter into dispute or argument with another. I never yet saw an instance of one of two disputants convincing the other by argument. I have seen many on their getting warm, becoming rude and shooting one another.— Thomas Jefferson

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.— Thomas Jefferson

There is nothing more unequal, than the equal treatment of unequal people.— Thomas Jefferson

Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.— Thomas Jefferson

Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.— Thomas Jefferson

One man with courage is a majority.— Thomas Jefferson

150+ Thomas Jefferson Quotes on life, liberty and more

Be polite to all, but intimate with few.— Thomas Jefferson

Every man has two countries his own and France.— Thomas Jefferson

I live for books.— Thomas Jefferson

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his  God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.— Thomas Jefferson

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.— Thomas Jefferson

The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.— Thomas Jefferson

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press and that cannot be limited without being lost.— Thomas Jefferson

Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence … too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment.— Thomas Jefferson

We confide in our strength, without boasting of it we respect that of others, without fearing it.— Thomas Jefferson

In matters of style, swim with the current in matters of principle, stand like a rock.— Thomas Jefferson

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It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.— Thomas Jefferson

I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.— Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be selfevident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. — Thomas Jefferson

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.— Thomas Jefferson

The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.— Thomas Jefferson

My only fear is that I may live too long. This would be a subject of dread to me.Thomas  Jefferson

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish  it to be always kept alive.— Thomas Jefferson

I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another.— Thomas Jefferson

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.— Thomas Jefferson

We never regret having eaten too little.— Thomas Jefferson

150+ Thomas Jefferson Quotes on life, liberty and more

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.— Thomas Jefferson

My views and feelings (are) in favor of the abolition of warand I hope it is practicable, by improving the mind and morals of society, to lessen the disposition to war; but of its abolition I despair.— Thomas Jefferson

Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.— Thomas Jefferson

Information is the currency of democracy.— Thomas Jefferson

If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.— Thomas Jefferson

Never fear the want of business. A man who qualifies himself well for his calling, never fails of employment.— Thomas Jefferson

Advertisements… contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Nathaniel Macon

The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is the best.— Thomas Jefferson

Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.— Thomas Jefferson

No government ought to be without censors & where the press is free, no one ever will.— Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and   inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.— Thomas Jefferson

I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.— Thomas Jefferson

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I steer my bark with hope in the head, leaving fear astern. My hopes indeed sometimes fail, but not oftener than the forebodings of the gloomy.— Thomas Jefferson

Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.— Thomas Jefferson

My theory has always been, that if we are to dream, the flatteries of hope are as cheap, and pleasanter, than the gloom of despair.— Thomas Jefferson

When a man has cast his longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.— Thomas Jefferson

This institution will be based upon the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For  here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.— Thomas Jefferson

A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the  gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the  body, it  gives boldness,  enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.— Thomas Jefferson

I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office.— Thomas Jefferson

Democracy is 51% of the people taking away the rights of the other 49%.— Thomas Jefferson

An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry.— Thomas Jefferson

Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.— Thomas Jefferson

Never spend your money before you have  it.— Thomas Jefferson

150+ Thomas Jefferson Quotes on life, liberty and more

Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if He ever had a chosen people, whose breasts He has made His peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. -Thomas Jefferson

Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. -Thomas Jefferson

The hole and the patch should be commensurate. -Thomas Jefferson

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. -Thomas Jefferson

No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free, no one ever will. -Thomas Jefferson

It is rare that the public sentiment decides immorally or unwisely, and the individual who differs from it ought to distrust and examine well his own opinion. -Thomas Jefferson

The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family. -Thomas Jefferson

The sword of the law should never fall but on those whose guilt is so apparent as to be pronounced by their friends as well as foes. -Thomas Jefferson

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. -Thomas Jefferson 

It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape. -Thomas Jefferson

The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.  -Thomas Jefferson

I never did, or countenanced, in public life, a single act inconsistent with the strictest good faith; having never believed there was one code of morality for a public, and another for a private man. -Thomas Jefferson

All authority belongs to the people. -Thomas Jefferson

150+ Thomas Jefferson Quotes on life, liberty and more

I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others. -Thomas Jefferson

Equal rights for all, special privileges for none. -Thomas Jefferson

In questions of power let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution. -Thomas Jefferson

I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too. -Thomas Jefferson

For God’s sake, let us freely hear both sides! -Thomas Jefferson

If I could not go to Heaven but with a party I would not go there at all. -Thomas Jefferson

Happiness is not being pained in body, or troubled in mind. -Thomas Jefferson  

Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. -Thomas Jefferson

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it. -Thomas Jefferson

Resort is had to ridicule only when reason is against us. -Thomas Jefferson

The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family. -Thomas Jefferson

No man will ever bring out of the Presidency the reputation which carries him into it. -Thomas Jefferson

When we see ourselves in a situation which must be endured and gone through, it is best to meet it with firmness, and accommodate everything to it in the best way practicable. This lessens the evil, while fretting and fuming only increase your own torments. -Thomas Jefferson

A republican government is slow to move, yet when once in motion, its momentum becomes irresistible. -Thomas Jefferson

150+ Thomas Jefferson Quotes on life, liberty and more

I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it. -Thomas Jefferson

The sun my almighty physician. -Thomas Jefferson

The people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just. -Thomas Jefferson

That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves. -Thomas Jefferson

Of all calamities this is the greatest. -Thomas Jefferson

Every man wishes to pursue his occupation and to enjoy the fruits of his labours and the produce of his property in peace and safety, and with the least possible expense. When these things are accomplished, all the objects for which government ought to be established are answered. -Thomas Jefferson

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The hole and the patch should be commensurate. -Thomas Jefferson

How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened. -Thomas Jefferson

The man who fears no truths has nothing to fear from lies. -Thomas Jefferson

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits. -Thomas Jefferson

Advertisements contain the only truth to be relied on in a newspaper. -Thomas Jefferson

Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none. -Thomas Jefferson | Statesmanship 

150+ Thomas Jefferson Quotes on life, liberty and more

It is my principle that the will of the majority should always prevail. -Thomas Jefferson

I like the dreams for the future better than the history of the past. -Thomas Jefferson

I steer my bark with hope in my heart, leaving fear astern. -Thomas Jefferson

I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. -Thomas Jefferson

I steer my bark with hope in my heart, leaving fear astern. -Thomas Jefferson

No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. -Thomas Jefferson

No nation is drunken where wine is cheap; and none sober where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as the common beverage. It is, in truth, the only antidote to the bane of whiskey. -Thomas Jefferson

If a due participation of office is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be obtained? Those by death are few: by resignation, none. -Thomas Jefferson

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom. -Thomas Jefferson

The execution of the laws is more important than the making of them. -Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. -Thomas Jefferson

France, freed from that monster, Bonaparte, must again become the most agreeable country on earth. It would be the second choice of all whose ties of family and fortune give a preference to some other one, and the first choice of all not under those ties.-Thomas Jefferson

If a due participation of office is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be obtained? Those by death are few; by resignation, none. -Thomas Jefferson

150+ Thomas Jefferson Quotes on life, liberty and more

Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state. -Thomas Jefferson

The habit of using ardent spirits by men in office has occasioned more injury to the public, and more trouble to me, than all other causes. Were I to commence my administration again, the first question I would ask respecting a candidate for office would be, Does he use ardent spirits? -Thomas Jefferson

Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on office, a rottenness begins in his conduct. -Thomas Jefferson

No knowledge can be more satisfactory to a man than that of his own frame, its parts, their functions and actions. -Thomas Jefferson

It is the old practice of despots to use a part of the people to keep the rest in order. -Thomas Jefferson

When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property. -Thomas Jefferson

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The small landholders are the most precious part of a state. -Thomas Jefferson

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. -Thomas Jefferson

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost. -Thomas Jefferson

When we see ourselves in a situation which must be endured and gone through, it is best to make up our minds to meet it with firmness, and accommodate everything to it in the best way practical. This lessons the evil, while fretting and fuming only serve to increase your own torments. -Thomas Jefferson

War is as much a punishment to the punisher as to the sufferer. -Thomas Jefferson

Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies. -Thomas Jefferson

The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time. -Thomas Jefferson

I succeed him; no one could replace him. -Thomas Jefferson


We hope this compilation of quotes took you out of your grim and helped you to reflect on yourself. There are times in our lives when pausing, getting to know who you are on a deeper level, and evaluating yourself and your progress can really open up all kinds of creative and inspirational pathways. Keep Hustling and Follow Quotes Inferno for more such quotes. Feel free to share your favorite with your friends or in the comments below.

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